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November 24, 2016

Week 12 NFL picks

Eagles NFL
112416AaronRodgers Patrick Semansky/AP

Aaron Rodgers has come under fire this season, but his team's defense is straight garbage.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 12 NFL picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

Vikings at Lions (-1): Last year on Thanksgiving, the Lions put up eleventy billion points on the Eagles, which was the beginning of the end of the Chip Kelly era in Philly. That day, the Lions played their terrible fight song like 30 times:

It's not easy having a road game on Thursday at noon, and the Vikings will have to do it (likely) without their best offensive weapon in Stefon Diggs.

MORE ON THE EAGLES: Addition of Paul Turner could give Jordan Matthews more chances to line up outside for Eagles | Pederson: Nelson Agholor not benched yet, but still could be benched | Jason Kelce game review, with gifs and stuff | Nelson Agholor's devastating line-up gaffe wasn't a first time mistake

Redskins at Cowboys (-7): The Redskins are dangerous. They have just one loss where they were legitimately beaten down, and that was way back in Week 1 against the Steelers. Ever since their Week 2 loss at home against Dallas, the Skins are 6-1-1. Why is this line a full touchdown?

Steelers (-9) at Colts: Andrew Luck is out, which means it's Scott Tolzien time in Indy. I'm hoping the tryptophan will have kicked in by then.

Titans (-4.5) at Bears: The Bears are forced to start Matt Barkley, which means that I'll be riding whoever Chicago faces for the foreseeable future.

Jaguars at Bills (-7.5): The Jaguars suck. #Analysis.

Bengals at Ravens (-4): The Bengals have had a nightmare season, and now they'll be without their best player, A.J. Green.

Cardinals at Falcons (-4): A season ago, Carson Palmer had 35 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. This year he has 13 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

Giants (-7) at Browns: My God, this Giants team is somehow going to be 8-3.

Rams at Saints (-7): Jeff Fisher may not even get to 7-9.

49ers at Dolphins (-7.5): The 49ers are flirting with being the worst defense ever, yardage-wise. The 2012 Saints gave up 7042 yards, which were the most all-time. The 49ers would have to average 455.2 yards allowed per game over their last 6 games to pass them, which isn't out of the question considering the well-documented history of Chip Kelly's defenses tiring out down the stretch.

The Niners are allowing a hilariously awful 179.5 rushing yards per game, while the Dolphins are the eighth-ranked rushing team in the league.

Chargers (-1.5) at Texans: The Texans are 5-0 at home, while the Chargers are 1-4 on the road. Why is San Diego favored in this game?

Seahawks (-6) at Buccaneers: The Seahawks are the best team in the NFC, in my opinion. This is a tricky game though, as that's a long trip from Seattle to Tampa.

Panthers at Raiders (-3): This is such a difficult game to pick -- very good team on a down year vs. the "not quite there" team having a great year. I'll embrace the upstarts.

Patri*ts (-7.5) at Jets: The last six games in this series have been decided by a touchdown or less, so 7.5 points is a little too rich for my blood. However, I would never advise betting on Ryan Fitzpatrick over Deflatey McGee, obviously.

Chiefs at Broncos (-3): Big Red will have the Chiefs playing well again after laying an egg last week at home against the Bucs. In my view, they are a better team than Denver.

Packers at Eagles (-3.5): The ineptness of the Eagles' receivers has been beaten to death this week, but they may not be as bad as the Packers' secondary. On the season, the Packers are allowing a disgusting 8.6 yards per pass attempt. That is by far the worst in the NFL, with the Buccaneers being the next closest team at 8.1. Since 1990, only eight teams have allowed 8.4 or more yards per pass attempt in a season:

Team YPA allowed Record 
 2008 Lions8.8 0-16 
 2015 Saints8.7 7-9 
 1990 Patriots8.7 1-15 
 2016 Packers8.6 TBD 
 2004 Chiefs8.5 7-9 
 2011 Panthers8.4 6-10 
 2000 Seahawks8.4 6-10 
 1991 Rams8.4 3-13 

Those teams combined for a record of 30-82, which, hang on, let me check with my team of scientists... yes, I've confirmed with them that that's bad.

And then, of course, the Eagles have been perfect so far at home, where they are 4-0, while the Packers are 1-4 on the road. Eagles 29-24.

BYE: None.

• Picks against the spread: Lions (-1), Redskins (+7), Titans (-4.5), Texans (+1.5), Eagles (-3.5).

• 2016 season, straight up: 96-63-2 (.602)

• 2016 season, ATS: 28-21 (.571)

• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)

• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

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